Blast From The Past:
ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?
What a Disgrace, The hate America Has Against The Negro
is Demonic. Intelligent White Southern Americans Lynch a
Defenselsss Innocent Black Family, How Shameful!
To Add To This Horrendous Story,The Father Of the Family
Was a Federal Official
read more about this heartbreaking story below.
OUR HAMITE AWARD WINNER FOR 1898:
Julia and Frazier Baker
Photograph shows Lavinia Baker and her five surviving children after the lynching of her husband and baby on February 22, 1898
President William McKinley appointed many blacks to postmasterships in the South. The whites who were not accustomed to blacks in such a high position of authority opposed these appointments bitterly. (the following sounds made up, but it's 100% true)These White Southern men feared that the increased political power that accompanied them would embolden black men to proposition their white women.
One appointment McKinley made was of Frazier B. Baker who was a 40-year-old school teacher in Lake City, South Carolina in 1897. Right off the bat, he was met with significant resistance from whites in the city. The whites first started off with a boycott, then began circulating petitions for his removal claiming he was rude, ignorant and inefficient in his duties. A postal inspector arrived on two different occasions to investigate the complaints but didn't find evidence to substantiate the residents’ claims. But that didn't stop the mob from burning down the building.
The government purchased Baker another space on the outskirts of town and things seemed to settle down for awhile. This is when Baker like any ordinary man probably missing his family decided to send for them in 1898, perhaps thinking the worse of the white hate was over. But sadly that wasn't the case. Threats against Baker's life were made as whites remained hostile to his presence, and Baker communicated these threats to his superiors in Washington.
Whenever we come across the word lynching, we may automatically think of a person hanging from a tree, but that's not always the case. A lynching means when a angry mob of people attack others with the intent to kill and carry out their own justice, whether it's being tortured, mutilated, dragged, or hung, or in this case shot and burned.
At 1:00 AM on February 21, 1898, the Baker family awoke to find their house (which also served as the post office) on fire. Frazier Baker attempted to put out the fire without success, and sent his son, Lincoln, to find help. As soon as Lincoln opened the door, he was met with gunfire, and Baker pulled him back into the house. Baker cursed the mob and began to pray. As the fire grew, the heat intensified, and Baker turned to his wife, Lavinia, saying that they, "might as well die running as standing still," and started for the door. Before he could open the door a bullet struck and killed his two-year-old daughter, Julia, as she was being held in Lavinia's arms. Baker, realizing that his youngest daughter had been killed, threw open the door and was cut down in a hail of gunfire.
Lavinia, wounded by the same bullet that had killed her daughter, rallied her family to escape the burning house by running across the road to hide under shrubbery in an adjacent field. After waiting for the flames and gunfire to subside, Lavinia made her way to a neighbor's home and found one daughter waiting, and was later joined by the oldest, Rosa. Rosa had been shot through the right arm and fled the house with an unidentified armed white male in pursuit. Only Sarah (age 7) and Millie (age 5) escaped unscathed. The survivors remained in Lake City for three days, but received no medical treatment. So terribly sad.
There was outrage across the country. In South Carolina, white newspapers condemned the murder as "dastardly" and "revolting."
Ida B. Wells-Barnett who was a very powerful young black woman and also a crusader for the outlawing of lynching spoke boldly to President McKinley about the incident. She also traveled across America speaking out against lynchings and was quoted as saying:
"Somebody must show that the Afro-American race is more sinned against than sinning, and it
seems to have fallen upon me to do so. The terrible death toll that Judge Lynch is calling every
week is appalling, not only because, of the lives it takes, [and] the rank cruelty and outrage to
the victims but because of the prejudice it fosters and the stain it places against the good name
of the weak race. The Afro-American is not a bestial race. —Ida B.Wells, preface to Southern Horror"
Ida was also at the forefront in seeking aid for the Baker family, even petitioning President McKinley, which we feel should have done of his accord, especially since he appointed him to the office and was a Federal employee, but she was unsuccessful. This was at the time of the Spanish-American war, and this President didn't know how to multi-task,, so The Baker tragedy was put on the back burner. To make matters worse, by the time she had returned home from Washington to seek aid from our people she was met with good old fashioned NEGRO apathy. She was very disappointed, but can you blame her? Don't we have to put a higher value on our own before we can expect others to? Ida placed a very high value on black people. She was such an inspiration!
Here again was an illustration of how our own people seem to stand in
the way of any accomplishment of federal intervention against lynching. They failed to take up the subject of organizing their forces and raising money for the purpose of sending me back to lobby for the desired results.
That had to be a big blow for her and the Baker family. Have we changed much today?
The McKinley administration conducted a robust investigation of the murder, initially offering a $1,500 ($42,522 today) reward for the arrest and conviction of the mob. The case did make it to Federal court, but it would be almost impossible to get a conviction because, for one thing, blacks were disenfranchised and couldn't vote, which meant they were not allowed on juries, and also all the whites in the city all knew each other or were related. The result of the trial was the jury deadlocked, and the case was never retried.
The remaining Baker family ended up traveling to Boston in hopes of getting aid but had a mixed bag of results. Finally, William Lloyd Garrison, Jr. who was the son of the Abolitionist, was himself deeply involved in anti-racist efforts spearheaded a fund-raising effort to buy the Baker family a home near Boston. Thank you Mr. Garrison.
The Bakers remained in Boston, but out of public life. The surviving Baker children fell victim to a tuberculosis epidemic, with all but Cora dying from the disease by 1920. Her children dead, Lavina Baker returned to Florence County, where she lived until her death in Cartersville, South Carolina in 1947. What a sad story and one we hope never to forget and one way of ensuring that is to award this family with the 1898 Hamite Award. RIP
The Mob at the Lake City Post Office
Lavinia Baker is treated by Dr. Alonzo McClennan at the Charleston Colored Hospital
Ida Bell Wells-Barnett
|How were blacks feeling in 1898?
The big news is what happened with the lynching of the Baker family. It was terrible how those white people murdered the dad and the baby. It makes my heart sad. We are always the ones getting killed, tortured and maimed.
Whenever you read the paper about killings pertaining to race, 99.9% of the time it's whites killing blacks, and yet we are portrayed as savage beast. One North Carolina Senator said that the black person is amiable and kind when enslaved but once freed is walking around like a savage beast out to hurt someone.
Guess what? Whites believe that about us and are afraid because of it. It's just a big lie. It would be hard to find a race of people who has been so patient, kind and forgiving than the Negro, and history supports that statement. We are not a vengeful people, that doesn't belong to us to be that way, and white people do not understand that because they are a very mean and vindictive people and expect all races to be that way.
To make matters worse, we are not getting help from Washington. We have a situation where not too long ago the slaves were emancipated into what we thought was a land of milk and honey but quickly discovered otherwise. Slaves have died for attempting to read or write, it was a severe offense to teach a slave to read or write, and when emancipation came, millions of illiterate, uneducated Negroes were set free from their bondage with just a quick token offer of assistance to lift ourselves up from despair with Reconstruction, and just as soon as it appeared, it disappeared.
Now you tell me, what do we do? What will millions of us do? Who do we turn to for help? Can't move on to these racist White Southerners, they have total impunity and can kill us as they please and sincerely hate our guts. Can't turn to the Northerners, they hate us just as much as the Southerners, they're just more polite and hold their tongue. Can't move on to the government because they ignore us and act like we don't have a serious problem at all with our Civil Rights. I don't even think we understand how to depend on ourselves.
The beautiful Ida Bell Wells-Barnett who is what every Negro should strive to imitate made a statement after visiting President Mc Kinley for monetary assistance to the Baker family and returned home to continue with the effort but was so disappointed about the black apathy. I can imagine her saying to herself, WAKE UP NEGROES and take control, we're not slaves anymore.
She was later quoted as saying:
"Here again was an illustration of how our people seem to stand in
the way of any accomplishment of federal intervention against lynching. They failed to take up the subject of organizing their forces and raising money for the purpose of sending me back to lobby for the desired results."
We need to defeat this apathy problem now because we don't need to pass this to future generations. We have to learn how to focus on the goal as the number one priority and petty grievances as secondary. White folks know how to do that, we have to learn too.
William Lloyd Garrison, Jr. who is white and the one who eventually stepped forward to help the Baker family felt the same way about our race when he made a comment about how the black leaders of our day shouldn't publicly put down Booker T Washington's efforts like WEB Dubois and William Trotter were doing, and I must say that I agree with him. We need to show a united front. Blacks need to learn it's not about them, it's about the STRUGGLE, period.
Well, another war is starting. The Spanish-American. Our boys are once again ready and excited to prove their courage for our great country. They make us so proud, a real inspiration to black folks. The war gave both the South and North a common enemy for the first time since the end of the Civil War in 1865, and you would think that many friendships would be formed. But it remains to be seen what this will mean for the black soldier.
On a lighter note, this is the first year the Post Office allows us to send postcards, if I could I would send each and every one of these brave souls a card expressing my heartfelt gratitude.
For the year 1898:
- Richard R. Wright was the first African-American to serve as U.S. Army Paymaster.
Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor
Octavius Valentine Catto
John W. "Bud" Fowler
Alonzo "Lonnie" Clayton
Moses Fleetwood Walker
| Sports in 1898 |
- Blacks were not accepted into the league baseball games, so they started their teams, becoming professional by the the 1870s. The first known baseball game between two black teams was held on November 15, 1859, in New York City. The Henson Base Ball Club of Jamaica, Queens, defeated the Unknowns of Weeksville, Brooklyn, 54 to 43.
By the end of the 1860s, the black baseball mecca was Philadelphia, which had an African-American population of 22,000. Two former cricket players, James H. Francis and Francis Wood, formed the Pythian Base Ball Club. They played in Camden, New Jersey, at the landing of the Federal Street Ferry, because it is hard to get permits for black baseball games in the city. Octavius Catto, the promoter of the Pythians, decided to apply for membership in the National Association of Base Ball Players, generally a matter of sending delegates to the annual convention; beyond that, a formality.
At the end of the 1867 season "the National Association of Baseball Players voted to exclude any club with a black player." In some ways Blackball thrived under segregation, with the few black teams of the day playing not only each other but white teams as well. "Black teams earned the bulk of their income playing white independent 'semipro' clubs."
- The mistreatment and segregation of Blacks didn't only happen in the South, but also the Northern cities like Philadelphia.
- Octavius Valentine Catto was a black educator, intellectual, and civil rights activist in Philadelphia. As a man, he also became known as a top cricket and black baseball pioneer in 19th-century Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- The first known professional black baseball player was Bud Fowler, who appeared in a handful of games with a Chelsea, Massachusetts club in April 1878 and then pitched for the Lynn, Massachusetts team in the International Association.
- Moses Fleetwood Walker and his brother, Welday Wilberforce Walker, were the first two black players in the major leagues. They both played for the 1884 Toledo Blue Stockings in the American Association.
- The few blacks on the white minor league teams were constantly dodging verbal and physical abuse from both competitors and fans. Then the Compromise of 1877 removed the remaining obstacles from the South's enacting the Jim Crow laws. To make matters worse, on July 14, 1887, Cap Anson's Chicago White Stockings marched his team onto the field, military style as was his custom, he demanded that the blacks not play, and later that same day, league owners voted to refuse future contracts to blacks, citing the "hazards" imposed by such athletes.
- In 1888, the Middle States League was formed, and it admitted two all-black teams to its otherwise all-white league, the Cuban Giants and their arch-rivals, the New York Gorhams. They became traveling teams known as the Colored All-Americans. They would go to various cities playing games that were not authorized by the professional white league. They would play against any team that just wanted some real, fair competition and make a little money in the process. The New York Gorhams quit playing after awhile and by 1892 the Cuban Giants were the only black team in the East still in operation on a full-time basis.
- By 1898, Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor held seven world records at distances from .25 miles to 2 miles and he placed first in 29 of 49 races in which he competed. No one else came close to that record.
- Alonzo "Lonnie" Clayton was an American jockey in Thoroughbred horse racing described by author Edward Hotaling, as "one of the great riders of the New York circuit all through the 1890s" and who holds the record as the youngest jockey to ever win the Kentucky Derby.
|| Famous African American Quotes |
Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor - African American cyclist who won the world 1 mile track cycling championship and much more in the late 1800s
"There are positively no mental, physical or moral attainments too lofty for the Negro to accomplish if granted a fair and equal opportunity."
| Education in 1898 |
- 1898 - Cummins v. Georgia determined that a Georgia school board was not obligated to open a public high school for African-American children. If an African American child wished to go to high school but lived in a county without a public high school for African Americans, the family or child had to migrate to where one was located. Sidenote: Separate but Equal Stinks. This case and much more like it gives us an interesting view into history with how blacks were constantly demoralized and shut out in every area of American life and success. We were never welcomed in our home. We fought and died for our country also. It's easier to understand how many could become tired and just give up, and pass this demoralized attitude and feelings for generations to come. How will this affect future generations of kids? One remarkable President knew.
"There can be no permanent disfranchised peasantry in the United States. Freedom can never yield its fullness of blessings so long as the law or its administration places the smallest obstacle in the pathway of any virtuous citizen. The emancipated race has already made remarkable progress. With unquestioning devotion to the Union, with a patience and gentleness not born of fear, they have "followed the light as God gave them to see the light." Quote by President James Garfield
- 1898 - Miles College began organization efforts in 1893 and was founded in 1898 by the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. It was chartered as Miles Memorial College, in honor of Bishop William H. Miles. In 1941 the name was changed to Miles College.
Why Didn't you respond to the Coup in Wilmington Mr. President?
Segregation in the U.S. military, 1898
| Race in 1898 |
- February 22, 1898 - Frazer B. and Julia Baker were an African-American father and daughter who were lynched in Lake City, Florence County, South Carolina by an angry white mob.
- Wilmington insurrection of 1898 now classified as a coup d'etat, as white Democratic Party insurgents overthrew the legitimately elected local government. A mob of nearly 2,000 men attacked the only black newspaper in the state, and persons and property in black neighborhoods, killing an estimated 15 to more than 60 victims. Trivia: Both black and white residents later appealed for help after the coup to President William McKinley, but his administration did not respond. After the riot, more than 2,100 blacks left the city permanently, having to abandon their businesses and properties, turning it from a black-majority to a white-majority city. How could the President not respond? These were terrorist who overthrew an American city, (a real coup man) that was McKinley job and duty to respond. Shameful!
- 1898 - Segregation in the U.S. military, 1898. Spanish–American War.
| Political Scene in 1898 |
- 1898 - William McKinley is the President of the United States. Sidenote: Well what do you know, we have a new President that took office in 1897. William McKinley is his name. Will he finally prove to be the President of justice we have been waiting and hoping? NOPE it ain't gonna happen. Black people were excited about McKinley in the beginning especially because he was against lynching when he served as Governor and wanted to abolish it, so the few blacks that were not disenfranchised voted for him but were quickly disappointed.
The administration’s response to racial violence was minimal, causing him to lose black support. When black postmasters at Hogansville, Georgia in 1897, and at Lake City, South Carolina the following year, were assaulted, McKinley issued no statement of condemnation. Although black leaders criticized McKinley for inaction, supporters responded by saying there was little the president could do to intervene. Critics replied by saying that he could at least publicly condemn such events, as Harrison had done. Look like we have another loser in the morals department, McKinley will join the long list of Presidents who didn't comprehend the Constitution of the United States.
One writer wrote:
“McKinley lacked the vision to transcend the biases of his day and to point toward a better future for all Americans.”
I must say that we agree.
- January 1898 - the Louisiana Legislature introduces the Grandfather Clause into the state's constitution, which was designed to keep blacks from voting.
- 1898 - Williams v. Mississippi, 170 U.S. 213 (1898) is a United States Supreme Court case that reviewed provisions of the state constitution that set requirements for voter registration. The Supreme Court did not find discrimination in the state's requirements for voters to pass a literacy test and pay poll taxes, as these were applied to all voters. Trivia: It's a wonder why these people would ever put on a facade of passing sincere laws when in reality they were morally bankrupt and uncivilized to a fault. , In any event, other intelligent white Americans in other states followed suit after this Supreme Court victory. For those that don't know why this was wrong is because white politicians knew that the majority of black people in that day were illiterate and poor because of their recent emancipation from slavery. During slavery it was illegal, and a felony to teach a slave to read and write. Shameful act America.
"It is worthy of emphasis, that the antiquity of the Negro race is beyond dispute. His brightest days were when history was an infant; and, since he early turned from God, he has found the cold face of hate and the hurtful hand of the Caucasian against him."
George Washington Williams
Dislike of black people is a relatively new phenomenon that started after the 16th century. Before this time there wasn't a thing such as racial prejudices. If color issues did arise, it was an infrequent occurrence. It's hardly mentioned in history books. For the most part, skin color was not a factor.
In fact, it's well documented how the early Greek philosophers who were all white, Socrates, Herodotus, Thales, Alexander the Great, Aristotle among others happily mingled with the blacks. Africa was known as the learning capital of the world, and many philosophers traveled to Africa to study about everything from philosophy to mathematics. Pythagoras is believed to have made it the furthest, having studied in Kemet for 23 years.
The Greek Poet Homer was one of those travelers and made the following statement:
"In ancient times the blacks were known to be so gentle to
strangers that many believed that the gods sprang from them.
Homer sings of the Ocean, father of the gods; and says that
when Jupiter wishes to take a holiday, he visits the sea,
and goes to the banquets of the blacks,--a people humble,
courteous, and devout."
Mr. Reade http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15735/15735.txt
Black people had a good reputation for being intelligent, kind and hospitable and enjoying an advanced civilization that the Greeks envied.
If alive today, Greek scholars would find it surprising how a person might believe in superiority simply because of skin color.
History makes the answer easy. After the 16th century, race became an issue for whites because of three dynamics. Greed, science, and white history (legacy).
Not to pick on white people, but it's entirely accurate they made our co-existence on this earth a race issue. This developed scorn or dislike they have for blacks continues down to our day.
- Greed The trans-Atlantic slave trade was about greed. Free black labor aided in making Europeans countries and America very rich on the backs of black slaves. This created animosity between the blacks and whites.
- Erroneous science theoriesThe introduction of false science teaching aided European and Americans in abandoning their conscience, because science didn't require one. Early Western philosophy advocated peace and treating all men with respect, but subsequent white generations did the opposite. Whites started to feel like gods themselves with their advancements in science and began to exhibit hubris, which is a Greek word denoting overconfident pride combined with arrogance. In other words, their heads became too big.
- Incomplete history recording Eurocentric history is always portrayed as the centerpiece of world history. African history was habitually erased by invading troops to eliminate its contributions and accomplishments to the world while preserving their European legacy. White history regularly portrays Africa as a wasteland full of ignorant savages, but current excavations prove the opposite. Africa was a developed continent with advanced civilizations just as good as Europe if not better.
Listed below are a few of the so-called geniuses who got the ball rolling in pitting white against black.
Not one ounce of truth could be found in what these early scientists preached as fact. Modern science doesn't agree with them. But guess what? There's still a lot of people who believe in this ridiculous white superiority crap, either conscious or unconsciously, which doesn't say much for the intelligence of these people.
Believe it or not, this is one reason a lot of whites dislike blacks today. It's not rare to hear about media services about blacks being called derogatory names associated with past world history.
So to honestly answer the question above "Why do many in America dislike black people?" At this point, it's because they want to.
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a white officer in the Union army had the task of training colored soldiers in the Civil War. He kept a diary for our enjoyment today. (click here)
George W. Williams - History of the Negro Race in America From 1619 to 1880. (click here)
Europeans Come to Western Africa -
The Characteristics of the Negro People -
Movies in America
Anna Madah Hyers dressed as 'Urlina' in the opera Urlina the African Princess (1879)
Playbill from 1898 showing Edward E. Rice's Production of Clorindy featuring the song "Darktown is Out Tonight"
| Musicals / Vaudeville / Movies in 1898 |
- The Hyers Sisters, Anna Madah and Emma Louise were singers and pioneers of black musical theater. With Joseph Bradford and Pauline Hopkins, the Hyers Sisters produced the "first full-fledged musical plays... in which African Americans themselves comment on the plight of the slaves and the relief of Emancipation without the disguises of minstrel comedy." Their first play was Out of Bondage (also known as Out of the Wilderness) which premiered in 1876. The Hyers Sisters under the management of their proud father not only toured in America but internationally. As small children, the father had them classically trained by German professor Hugo Sank and later opera singer Josephine D'Ormy, and they performed for private parties before making their professional stage debut. They were very well received everywhere they played and blazed a path for other black entertainers to follow. They traveled until the mid-1880s with their shows and continued to appear on stage into the 1890s. Wow, absolutely amazing!
- Clorindy, or The Origin of the Cake Walk is a one-act musical by composer Will Marion Cook and librettist Paul Laurence Dunbar. The piece premiered in 1898 and was the first Broadway musical with an all-black cast. It starred the famous African-American performer Ernest Hogan. Popular songs from the show included "Who Dat Say Chicken In Dis Crowd" (one of the first documented uses of the well-known "Who Dat?" comedy motif) and the finale, "Darktown Is Out Tonight. Clorindy had a brief run, also starring Hogan, at the Boston Music Hall in mid-January, 1901
Paul Robeson,American actor, athlete, bass-baritone concert singer, writer, civil rights activist, Spingarn Medal winner, and Stalin peace prize laureate
| Famous Birthdays in 1898 |
- February 3, 1898 - Lil Hardin Armstrong was a jazz pianist, composer, arranger, singer, and bandleader, and the second wife of Louis Armstrong with whom she collaborated on many recordings in the 1920s.
- February 6, 1898 - Harry Haywood was a leading figure in both the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). His goal was to connect the political philosophy of the Communist Party with the issues of race.
- February 6, 1898 - Melvin Beaunorus Tolson African-American modernist poet, and educator.
- April 9, 1898 - Paul Leroy Robeson was an American singer and actor who became involved with the Civil Rights Movement. At Rutgers College, he was an outstanding football player, then had an international career in singing, as well as acting in theater and movies.
- December 14, 1898 - Lillian Randolph was an African-American actress and singer, a veteran of radio, film, and television. She worked in entertainment from the 1930s well into the 1970s, appearing in hundreds of radio shows, motion pictures, short subjects, and television shows.
Norris Wright Cuney
Blanche Kelso Bruce
James H. Harris
| Famous Deaths in 1898 |
- January 28, 1898 - James H. Harris was a Union Army soldier during the American Civil War and a recipient of America's highest military decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions at the Battle of Chaffin's Farm.
- March 3, 1898 - Norris Wright Cuney was an American politician, businessman, union leader, and African-American activist in Texas in the United States. Following the American Civil War, he became active in Galveston politics, serving as an alderman and a national Republican delegate.
- March 17, 1898 - Blanche Kelso Bruce was a U.S. politician who represented Mississippi as a Republican in the U.S. Senate from 1875 to 1881; of mixed race, he was the first elected black senator to serve a full term.
- September 10, 1898 - Alexander Crummell was a pioneering African-American priest, professor and African nationalist. Ordained as an Episcopal priest in the United States, Crummell went to England in the late 1840s to raise money for his church by lecturing about American slavery.
Mary McLeod Bethune and unidentified man.
Daniel Hale Williams
Paul Laurence Dunbar
| Famous Weddings in 1898 |
- March 6, 1898 - Paul Laurence Dunbar and teacher Alice Ruth Moore were wed in holy matrimony.
- 1898 - Will Marion Cook and singer Abbie Mitchell were wed in holy matrimony.
- 1898 - Daniel Hale Williams and Alice Johnson were wed in holy matrimony.
- 1898 - Mary McLeod Bethune and Albertus Bethune were wed in holy matrimony.
- 1898 - Harry Burleigh and poet Louise Alston were wed in holy matrimony.
| It's a Party in 1898 |
- Back in the early 1900s because of prejudice and racial discrimination, black entertainers had to be very careful where they traveled. They weren't always welcome in various venues, so they created what's called a Chitlin Circuit. They named it Chitlin Circuit because of blacks typical love for soul food with chitlins being near the top as favorite. So, in other words, they understood they would be love on the circuit. They knew that the clubs, juke joints, theaters, etc. in the circuit were welcoming of the black race and safe to visit. This way of life existing from the early 1900s - 1960s. Noted theaters and entertainers on the circuit included:
The Fox Theatre in Detroit; the Victory Grill in Austin, Texas; the Carver Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama; the Cotton Club, Small's Paradise and the Apollo Theater in New York City; Robert's Show Lounge, Club DeLisa and the Regal Theatre in Chicago; the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C.;the Royal Peacock in Atlanta; the Royal Theatre in Baltimore; the Uptown Theatre in Philadelphia; the Hippodrome Theatre in Richmond, Virginia; the Ritz Theatre in Jacksonville, Florida; and The Madam C. J. Walker Theatre on Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis.
Early figures of blues, including Robert Johnson, Son House, Charley Patton, and countless others, traveled the juke joint circuit, scraping out a living on tips and free meals. These entertainers provided much-needed joy and happiness for black folks. Once the band's gig was over, they would leave for the next stop on the circuit. Sounds like a lot of fun and an exciting life!
Many notable performers worked on the chitlin' circuit, including Patti LaBelle, Count Basie, Hammond B-3, Jeff Palmer, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Sheila Guyse, Peg Leg Bates, The Supremes, George Benson, James Brown & The Famous Flames, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis, Jr., Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ella Fitzgerald, The Jackson 5, Redd Foxx, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Billie Holiday, John Lee Hooker, Lena Horne, Etta James, B.B. King, The Miracles, Donna Hightower, Moms Mabley, The Delfonics, Wilson Pickett, Richard Pryor, Otis Redding, Duke Ellington, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Little Richard, Ike & Tina Turner, The Four Tops, Tammi Terrell, The Isley Brothers, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Muddy Waters, Flip Wilson and Jimmie Walker.
Bob Cole and John Rosamond Johnson,
African American composers
Black Patti Troubadours
Storyville, New Orleans
| Music in 1898 |
Popular Soul Dances:
Musical Happenings in 1898:
- Cakewalk Dance was a strutting dance popular at the end of the 19th century, developed from a black-American contest in graceful walking that had a cake as a prize.
- Buck Dances
- Sissieretta Jones formed the Black Patti Troubadours (later renamed the Black Patti Musical Comedy Company), a musical and acrobatic act made up of 40 jugglers, comedians, dancers and a chorus of 40 trained singers. Jones sang passionately and pursued her career choice of opera and various repertory regardless to her lack of audience attendance. For more than two decades, Jones remained the star of the Famous Troubadours, while they graciously toured every season and established their popularity in the principal cities of the United States. The Black Patti Troubadours reveled in vernacular music and dance. Jones retired from performing in 1915.
- By 1881, Billy Johnson was performing in minstrel shows. In 1886 he joined Lew Johnson's Minstrels and the following year moved to Hicks and Sawyer's minstrels, where he stayed for six seasons. He began writing songs and eventually landed a job with Bob Cole as songwriter and stage producer for the more upscale Black Patti Troubadours. Cole and Johnson produced a musical sketch for Black Patti, then left that company to produce their musical, A Trip to Coontown (1898), the first full-length black-produced musical on an American stage. However, during the third season of this musical, the pair separated.
Will Accooe was an important songwriter during the birth of the black musical. By 1896, Accooe was working as musical director for John Isham's Octoroons, a fruitful and famous quasi-minstrel troupe. At the Nashville Exposition of 1897 his "Tennessee Centennial March" was one of the biggest hits of the approximately 450 compositions by black composers played by E. C. Brown in the New York Building.
- Maurice Arnold was one of many African-American students of Antonin Dvorak during Dvorak's 1894 stay in the United States. Arnold participated in Dvorak's great January 23, 1894, concert at the National Conservatory of Music in New York City. Arnold's four "American Plantation Dances" were performed at the conservatory and garnered him a small measure of fame. He was also the author of "Valse Elegant" for two pianos, eight hands (1893) and "Lad Who Wears the Blue" (1898).
- One of the most prominent figures in pre-jazz African-American music, Will Marion Cook is also one of its better-known personalities. As a composer, conductor, performer, teacher, and producer, he had his hand in nearly every aspect of the black music of his time and worked with almost every other prominent musician in his fields. Uncompromising and difficult to work with, he still commanded respect from his peers for his abilities and accomplishments. Cook turned to traditional music as his artistic career was not successful. He began writing songs and formed the Gotham-Attucks Publishing Company with R. C. McPherson. His first big success was the musical Clorindy or The Origin of the Cakewalk (1898).
- Little is known of Shepard N. Edmonds, except that he published some music. He was part of a vaudeville team with J. Leubrie Hill which performed on the East Coast around 1898.
Storyville was the red-light district of New Orleans, Louisiana from 1897 to 1917. It was established by municipal ordinance under the New Orleans City Council, to regulate prostitution and drugs. The ordinance did not legalize prostitution but rather designated a sixteen block area as the part of the city in which it was not illegal. The area was originally referred to as "The District," but its nickname, "Storyville," soon caught on. It became a centralized attraction in the heart of New Orleans. Only a few of its remnants are now visible.
Establishments in Storyville ranged from cheap "cribs" to more expensive houses, up to a row of elegant mansions along Basin Street for well-heeled customers. New Orleans' cribs were 50-cent joints, whereas the more expensive establishments could cost up to $10. Black and white brothels coexisted in Storyville; but black men were barred from legally purchasing services in either black or white brothel.
Trivia: It's interesting to note that Jim Crow even restricted the Negro male from legally purchasing the services of a prostitute. Amazing!
In the early 1900s, a Blue Book could be purchased for 25 cents. Blue Books were created for tourists and those unfamiliar with this area of New Orleans and contained, in alphabetical order, the names of all the prostitutes of Storyville, and separated them based on race.
Jazz did not originate in Storyville, but it flourished there as in the rest of the city. Many out-of-town visitors first heard this style of music there before the music spread north. Some outsiders continue to associate Storyville with the origins of jazz. It was the tradition in the better Storyville establishments to hire a piano player and sometimes small bands. Famous musicians who got their start in Storyville include Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, and Pops Foster.
At the start of World War I, Secretary of War Newton Baker did not want troops to have distractions while deploying. The Navy had troops located in New Orleans, and the city was pressed to close Storyville. Prostitution was made illegal in 1917 and Storyville was used for the purpose of entertainment. Most of its buildings were later destroyed.
Minister Jordan W. Early
William C. ("Billy") McClain
The illustration represents a corsage by Charvet. It is a blouse of pink cambric finely plaited, and with a white cascade frill, also of cambric, down the center. The scarf is of white cambric and the waistband of pink cambric.
Early 1890s fashion includes gray coat with covered buttons and matching waistcoat, dark trousers, short turnover shirt collar, and floppy bow tie. The short hair and pointed beard are typical.
Work fashions in the 1890s (housekeeper)
Dapper young African-American woman with Afro-textured hair wearing a hat.
The Black Victorians (Victorian Era 1800s-1900s)
| Fashions and Styles in 1898 |
- After the American Civil War and emancipation, many blacks migrated to towns or cities, where they were influenced by new styles. Many straightened their hair to conform to white beauty ideals. They wanted to succeed and to avoid mistreatment and legal and social discrimination. Some women and a smaller number of men lightened their hair with household bleach. They used creams and lotions, combined with hot irons, to straighten hair. The black hair care industry was initially dominated by white-owned businesses. In the late 19th century, African-American entrepreneurs such as Annie Turbo Malone, Madam C. J. Walker, Madam Gold S.M. Young, Sara Spencer Washington and Garrett Augustus Morgan revolutionized hair care by inventing and marketing chemical (and heat-based) applications to alter the natural tightly curled texture. Men began using pomades, and other products, to achieve the standard aesthetic look.
By the 1890s, the sack coat was fast replacing the frock coat for most informal and semi-formal occasions. Three-piece suits ("ditto suits") consisting of a sack coat with matching vest and trousers were worn, as were matching coat and waistcoat with contrasting trousers.
Shirt collars were turned over or pressed into "wings", and became taller through the decade. The usual necktie was a four-in-hand or an Ascot tie, made up as a neckband with wide wings attached and worn with a stickpin, but the 1890s also saw the return of the bow tie for day dress.
Early 1890s dresses consisted of a tight bodice with the skirt gathered at the waist and falling more naturally over the hips and undergarments than in previous years. Corsets in the 1890s helped define the hourglass figure. Afternoon dresses typical of the time period had high necks, wasp waists, puffed sleeves and bell-shaped skirts. Evening gowns had a squared decolletage, a wasp-waist cut and skirts with long trains.
- Portrait of the stylish African-American impresario William C. ("Billy") McClain in late 1800s.
Yeow!, Slavery is Finally Over!|
It's smooth sailing ahead
We can't wait to get out in the workforce to make our own money
What type of employment awaits us in the 1800s?
90% of Negroes still lived in the South up until the late 1910s. Blacks looking for work in the South mainly worked on the land they lived. Most were tenant farmers that did contract work on a farm by farm basis. Some blacks were hired just for a particular job and once the job was over had to find employment elsewhere. They would work and harvest the field for the season and pay the owner out of their profits for room and board and use of farming tools.
Some but not many blacks also worked in manufacturing, and for the most part were paid comparable wages as their white counterparts. However, blacks were much less likely to hold better-paying skilled jobs, and they were more liable to work for lower-paying companies.
If blacks were not working on farms, they were engaged in unskilled labor and service jobs. They were unable to afford their homes. Because of the crazy events unfolding with voter intimidations and outright murders by the KKK, with total impunity and the total disregard for assistance from American presidents, and the end of Reconstruction help. Most black children had not attended school in the year before the Census was taken, and white children were much more likely to have attended.
Immediately after the emancipation blacks were very eager to learn, school attendance was sky high, but unfolding events that were perpetrated or voted on in approval by white citizens demoralized many blacks at this point in history before the turn of the century, and don't forget the effects of damaging Jim Crows laws which were about to formally get underway.
So a typical look at the African American family at the end of the 1800s Census lived and worked on a farm in the South and did not own their home, and children in these families were unlikely to be in school even at very young ages.
Blacks also found employment in the mining industry, which was very dangerous work. In 1883, thousands of European immigrants and a large number of African Americans migrated to southern West Virginia to work in coal mines. These coal miners worked in company mines with company tools and equipment, which they were required to lease. Along with these expenses, the miners have deducted pay for housing rent and items they purchased from company stores. Furthermore, the coal companies went as far as creating their monetary system so the miners could only shop at company-owned stores. In addition to the poor economic condition, safety in the mines was a great concern with many men either killed or permanently injured.
African-Americans also worked in the shipping business as stevedores or more commonly called, longshoreman which consisted of waterfront manual laborer involved in loading and unloading ships. In the 1800s, the word stevedore was usually applied to black laborers who loaded and unloaded bales of cotton and other freight on and off riverboats.
Work for Negroes in the Northern cties weren't much better. Many blacks probably thought that after the Civil War their streets were going to be paved golden with opportunity, but boy were they in for a surprise!
Blacks were denied at every level on the economic ladder. It has been observed that this was a period the black crime rate rose, with the white crime rate going down. Whites controlled every single aspect of gainful American employment.
Factories were going full steam ahead, but when blacks tried to enter, they were shut out, why? Mainly because the whites didn't want to work side by side with blacks, so as a result they were not hired.
The textiles and garment industries were also booming during this period, but there aren't records of blacks ever being hired.
It was possible for blacks to find work with the railroads as Pullman porters, track workers, or common laborers, but at the same time when their families and friends wanted to travel on the train, they were segregated. How demoralizing that had to be. White railroad unions blocked them out from making better pay which was in the maintenance and train building departments.
In the early 1800s, there were many black craftsmen such as carpenters, machinist, contractors, etc. who enjoyed a good reputation with their skilled art trade, but in the late 1800s that image changed due to the increase of separate but equal doctrine. It's not a dispute blacks couldn't do the work, the issue was the color of skin that kept them out of the workforce.
When a black would apply for employment at a retail store, they wouldn't hire them, saying whites did not want to be served by them. One black was fortunate enough to land a job as the cities only black clerk at a commercial bank. What was the catch? He never received a raise or promotion and dared not complained.
Businesses would hire newly arriving immigrants before hiring their American black brothers. Blacks were better educated, but just the wrong color in their eyes.
If a black person extended himself through higher learning going on to become a doctor or lawyer, one important question has to be answered. Who were going to be his paying clients? This problem persist in today's world and as long as America is around, it always will. It's a deeply entrenched belief in white people whether conscious or unconscious to avoid doing business with blacks. (generally speaking)
Whites rarely would patronize black professionals, even famous black sociologist of those days WEB Dubois made a comment "Education will get you nothing but disappointment and humiliation.'' which Dubois had to be frustrated when making that statement because he was at the forefront in African American achievement through education.
It has been noted that there were only two avenues open for blacks during this period in history which was strike-breaking and vice.
Different businesses such as the coal mines would hire blacks a strike-breakers when the whites would protest for more money. Of course, many blacks lost their lives with the violent outburst by the white workers fearing they were losing their jobs. Blacks had to take the chance along with the danger, what else could they do?
They had to feed their families too. With the women, it was the same thing. When white dressmakers went on strike, the company hired black women to take their place. So basically, blacks were used as pawns in the game.
The other avenue open to blacks was the vice, and this clearly explains how and why this phenomenon has extended down to our day for a segment of our black community. It would seem these blacks are still demoralized and traumatized from these events in history. But we have every hope they will rise and soar like the eagles. There was a lot of gambling, prostitution, lottery, and bootlegging, going on in the cities, and maybe the police kept a blind eye to it because they ignored it for a while. - At this point in history, Philadelphia was estimated to have 10,000 prostitutes and 1,000 brothels in the 1890s. Most of the vise would find it's way into the black neighborhoods with black leaders unable to stop it.
We think it's important to note that old saying that "the more things change the more they stay the same" applies here. America has made some progress in racial relations but the attitude still exist for blacks entering the workplace which is mostly white. Many will keep quiet but may not want you there, but you have your family to feed just like they do and as long as everyone does his work and obey the rules is all that matters. We're not out to win a popularity contest. But if they sincerely want to work with you, that would be wonderful!
Detail from Charge of the 24th and 25th Colored Infantry,
July 2nd 1898 depicting the Battle of San Juan Hill.
1899 lithograph by Chicago printers Kurz and Allison.
United States Census for African Americans
in the 1890s
Robert Sengstacke Abbott
Richard R. Wright
| Our Community in 1898 |
Newsworthy Events in the Black Community:
- 1898 - The North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company (originally the North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association) is an American life insurance company located in downtown Durham, North Carolina. Founded in 1898 by local black social leaders, its business increased from less than a thousand dollars in income in 1899 to a quarter of a million dollars in 1910.
- April 21, 1898 - The Spanish-American War begins. Sixteen regiments of black volunteers are recruited.
- May 19, 1898 - United States Post Office authorizes the use of postcards.
- August 20, 1898 - article in The New York Times stated that African American theatre owner and entrepreneur Pat Chappelle was almost beaten to death by an angry mob.
- August 1898 - Richard R. Wright was appointed by President William McKinley as Major and paymaster of United States Volunteers in the United States Army. He was the first African American to serve as an Army paymaster.
- 1898 - The National Afro-American Council, the first nationwide civil rights organization in the United States, was created in 1898 in Rochester, New York.
- 1898 - Robert Sengstacke Abbott received a law degree from Kent College of Law, Chicago, in 1898. However, due to the racial prejudices, was unable to practice; despite attempts to establish law offices in Gary, Indiana, Topeka, Kansas, and Chicago, Illinois.
- 1898 - The Pepsi Cola company begins.
Trivia: Originally created and developed by pharmacist Caleb Bradham in 1893 and introduced as Brad's Drink, it was later renamed Pepsi-Cola on August 28, 1898. Bradham put the drink on the market in 1903. In the 1940s, President of Pepsi Walter Mack noticed that blacks were not being represented in advertising for soft drinks. He felt these were untapped dollars that Pepsi should capitalize. At this same time Coke had a reluctance to hire blacks. So Mack hired an all black advertising team headed by Hennan Smith, who was an advertising executive "from the Negro newspaper field." Henna portrayed blacks in a very positive light in his ads, and Mack's intuition was correct, Pepsi's sales skyrocketed, even beating Coke for the first time in Chicago. But here's the sad news. Pepsi was becoming very popular, and the white affiliates of the soft drink company didn't want it associated with black people, resulting in President Walter Mack making the following statement:
"We don't want it to become known as a nigger drink."
After Mack left the company in 1950, support for the black sales team faded and it was sadly cut. Of course, that was many years ago, and I won't be thinking about it the next time I pop open a can, but it's just good to know your history.
- The United States Population is 62,947,714 with a total of 7,488,676 being African Americans.
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